Tag Archives: inspiration

Sunderland are to host "Nelson Mandela Day" when Manchester United visit

Sunderland to host 'Nelson Mandela Day' when United come to visit

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

19:54 GMT, 28 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:33 GMT, 28 February 2013

Sunderland have become the first English football team to set up a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Sunderland, who this season started a new sponsorship deal with Invest In Africa, will support a number of fundraising initiatives on behalf of the Foundation.

The March 30 fixture against Manchester United has been designated ‘Nelson Mandela Day’ at the Stadium of Light.

International: At the start of the season Sunderland announced they were to be sponsored by Invest In Africa

International: At the start of the season Sunderland announced they were to be sponsored by Invest In Africa

Vice chairman, David Miliband, said: 'There is no more iconic figure in the world today than Nelson Mandela.

'His values of equality, justice and reconciliation are the inspiration to millions and this partnership is a wonderful symbol for Sunderland in Africa and a huge honour for our football club.

'As a club which prides itself on its commitment to charitable work, to the community as a whole through our own Foundation of Light, and to the pursuit of excellence in all we do, we see tremendous potential in working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.'

Key: The match may be crucial in Sunderland's fight against the drop

Key: The match may be crucial in Sunderland's fight against the drop

Ospreys grant Ryan Jones testimonial year

Ospreys grant triple Grand Slam winner Jones testimonial year

, skippering the 2008 side.

In November, Jones also established a new record for most games as captain of Wales, surpassing Ieuan Evans' previous mark of 28.

Honoured: Ryan Jones, the Wales and Ospreys forward seen here being tackled by two Scarlets players, has been granted a testimonial year

Honoured: Ryan Jones, the Wales and Ospreys forward seen here being tackled by two Scarlets players, has been granted a testimonial year

At club level Jones has won four RaboDirect Pro12 titles with the Ospreys, as well as the 2008 Anglo-Welsh Cup, making 135 appearances since joining them in 2004.

Jones, who featured in all three Tests of the 2005 Lions tour of New Zealand, will officially launch his testimonial year at the Ospreys v Zebre RaboDirect Pro12 game on Friday.

Jones, who has chosen the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal as the official charity of his testimonial year, said: 'I am honoured and extremely humbled to have been handed a testimonial by the Ospreys.

'It promises to be a wonderful and memorable year for not just me but for my family as well, who have been a big inspiration for me and have shared the highs and lows of my career.'

Triple Grand Slam: Jones has helped Wales to Six Nations clean sweeps in 2005, 2008 and 2012 (pictured)

Triple Grand Slam: Jones has helped Wales to Six Nations clean sweeps in 2005, 2008 and 2012 (pictured)

The first major event of Jones' testimonial year will take place on January 31 with a dinner at Cardiff Arms Park featuring guests from the Ireland and Wales teams ahead of their RBS 6 Nations opener the following weekend.

Ospreys chief operating officer, Andrew Hore added: 'Ryan is a wonderful servant to the Ospreys and his country, and to rugby in general.

'His record speaks for itself, his achievements in the game are testament to the hard work and effort he puts in every day, constantly striving to improve.

'He remains one of our most reliable performers, someone who leads by example on the field, and we are delighted to honour that commitment by granting a testimonial year to Ryan in recognition of his service.'

Brian McDermott says Reading can upset Christmas trend and avoid relegation

McDermott backing rock-bottom Reading to beat history and avoid the drop

|

UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 December 2012

Brian McDermott is ignoring that old statistic about the fate awaiting the Premier League's bottom club at Christmas, and will instead focus on some altogether more positive facts and figures to kickstart Reading's bid for survival.

West Brom remain the only team in the Premier League era to stay up after being in Reading's current position, but McDermott has told his players to use their success in winning promotion against all the odds last season as a source of inspiration.

They were 16th in the Championship table in November, and trailed pacesetters Southampton and West Ham by huge margins before winning 15 of the last 17 games to finish top of the table.

We can do it: Brian McDermott says Reading can still survive

We can do it: Brian McDermott says Reading can still survive

Another Herculean effort is required in the second half of this season after Reading suffered a seventh successive defeat at Manchester City on Saturday. But McDermott remains optimistic they can do it again as he prepares to face Swansea at the Madejski Stadium on Boxing Day.

Asked about the gloomy Christmas statistic, he replied: 'West Brom have done it, so it is doable.

'My view on that is that if you're 20 points off the lead, which we were at one point last season, and then go and win it I'm not sure anyone has done that before.

'It's a decent stat. We were loads and loads of points behind West Ham and Southampton and still managed to win the league. So it shows what this team can do.

Foul Barry clambered over Nicky Shorey as he scored for City

Foul Barry clambered over Nicky Shorey as he scored for City

Record of Premier League's bottom club at Christmas

Record of Premier League's bottom club at Christmas

'Our players are winners. They were
champions last season in the Championship. The year before that they got
to the Playoff Final. The year before we were in a relegation spot and
won loads of games.

'What
I've found with our players is that they are incredibly resilient. What
I've found about myself is that I'm incredibly resilient.' McDermott and
his players must pick themselves up after Gareth Barry broke their
hearts with a winner in the second minute of added time at the Etihad
Stadium.

Reading were furious that referee Mike Dean did not rule the goal out for a push on Nicky Shorey.

But once the anger subsided, McDermott was able to draw some positives from a fine performance against the Premier League champions.

'We're in a results business, ' he added. 'We're confident with 20 games to go that if we play like that we can get results.

'I've not had one in the last seven games but, results wise, my record in the last two-and-a-half years has been good.'

Manchester United target Hector Herrera wanted by Porto

Man United in battle with Porto to sign 9m-rated Mexico midfielder Herrera

|

UPDATED:

09:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

On the move Herrera is wanted by United and Porto

On the move Herrera is wanted by United and Porto

Manchester United will face stiff competition to sign Hector Herrera after his club revealed Porto and a French club are also interested in signing the midfielder.

Mexico's Olympic star Herrera was the inspiration behind Mexico's gold medal victory and has been on United's radar for over a year with Liverpool also very keen.

But the club will have to move swiftly for the player nicknamed 'Zorro', according to president of his club.

At this moment there is no concrete offer on the table, but there certainly is a lot of interest,' Pachuca president Jesus Martinez told ESTO.

'Porto are not the only side in the race. There is also a club from England and another one in France.

'Pachuca plan to sell Herrera in the summer of 2013.

But it will have to be a good deal for the club.'

Hatem Ben Arfa is fit for Fulham v Newcastle clash

Boost for Newcastle with magical Ben Arfa back for Fulham clash

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 9 December 2012

Hatem Ben Arfa returns to centre stage for Newcastle United on Monday night.

The France star has missed his side’s last four matches and Pardew, who is looking to build on last week’s win over Wigan Athletic, knows his side have missed the forward’s inspiration.

Ben Arfa, who is one of four Newcastle players Pardew hopes to have back from hamstring injuries for the game at Fulham, was injured in his first Europa League match against Maritimo over a fortnight ago.

Ready to go: Hatem Ben Arfa is set to make his return to action

Ready to go: Hatem Ben Arfa is set to make his return to action

The 25-year-old had just been handed a
new central role by his manager and Pardew is ready to let him loose at
Craven Cottage tonight.

The Newcastle boss said: ‘I was very
disappointed to lose him in that Maritimo game because I wanted to get a
full 90 minutes out of him performing that role.

‘He is going to put the ball at risk
there, but on the plus side, he is also going to really increase the
flair in and around the central areas.

‘I am sure there will be games where I think it is right to put him there or even start with him there.

‘We had Hatem playing as a No 10 last
year. Mentally and physically I think he is in much better shape to play
that role now than he was back then.

‘I have not really had any significant
problems with Hatem. I think my experience of dealing with the likes of
Benayoun, Tevez, Mascherano — players who came over here in difficult
situations — has helped.

‘I am fortunate to be 52, still in the game and have that experience behind me.’

Newcastle also hope to have top scorer Demba Ba back tonight to add to his 10 goals in 16 appearances.

Watching brief

Steven Gerrard still has plenty to offer but he needs help, says Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Gerrard needs help from his team-mates, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

|

UPDATED:

00:48 GMT, 30 November 2012

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called on his players to ease
the burden captain Steven Gerrard has been carrying for more than a
decade.

Over the years the 32-year-old has been the driving force in the Reds
midfield, scoring crucial goals and producing performances which have
dragged his side through some important games.

In the thick of it: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool challenges Mousa Dembele of Tottenham

In the thick of it: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool challenges Mousa Dembele of Tottenham

He has found the net just three times this season – though his two in the league make him joint second highest-scorer with own goals – and has yet to reproduce his best form but Rodgers believes it is time some of his team-mates helped out more.

'He's carried this club for nearly 13 years and it's about time that there was more than Steven picking up the baton of responsibility,' said the Northern Irishman.

'He's been brilliant since I arrived here. His inspiration and leadership within the team has been phenomenal.

'He might not have got the goals that he wanted this season, but you saw him last night (in the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham) – his range of passing, commitment and drive into the box was superb.

'He has been judged on his goals because he's been a goalscoring midfielder over the years, but he's still offering this group so much on and off the field.

'There are others that we want to step up to the plate and get the goals.

'Across the board we want to improve and find the solutions.'

Eric Cantona sardine speech: the truth revealed

REVEALED: The truth behind Cantona's famous trawler speech (and the mystery of the piece of paper it was written on)

|

UPDATED:

13:23 GMT, 27 November 2012

Eric Cantona delivered one of the most famous phrases football has ever known when he uttered the immortal and completely baffling words: 'When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.'

Now, over 17 years from the Frenchman's infamous press conference after an appeal hearing at Croydon Magistrates’ Court following his assault on Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons, former Manchester United director Maurice Watkins has revealed the inspiration behind Cantona's choice of phrase.

At the time it seemed like a bizarre off-the-cuff remark before former Manchester United forward ended his brief press conference.

Scroll down to watch the video

Gone fishing: Cantona - with Watkins (left) watching on - walks out of his press conference after reading his famous 'sardine' line following the quashing of his two-week prison sentence

Gone fishing: Cantona – with Watkins (left) watching on – walks out of his press conference after reading his famous 'sardine' line following the quashing of his two-week prison sentence

DM.has('rcpv1991064788001','BCVideo');

Later, it was revealed to be the
Frenchman’s assessment of the media pack following him around on the
hunt for a story. And according to Watkins – who was sat next to Cantona
during the press conference – the Frenchman knew what he was going to
say all along.

Maverick: Cantona took the Premier League by storm

Maverick: Cantona took the Premier League by storm

'The
whole case had been so big I felt Eric had to say something,' said
Watkins, at the time a United director and their legal advisor.

'We started to draft a speech on a piece of paper and he asked what the boat was that catches fish. Then he asked what the birds were that fly over the sea.

'Eric went on writing then showed me what he wanted to say.

'Everyone thinks because of the expression on my face that I didn’t know what he was going to say.

But I did and I often wonder what happened to that piece of paper.'

Cantona’s words brought some kind of closure to one of the most infamous chapters in football history.

Sent off for a challenge on Palace defender Richard Shaw in January 1995, Cantona was making his way to the dressing rooms in the corner of Selhurst Park when he heard Simmons shout at him.

Cantona launched himself at the supporter with a kung-fu kick, before following up with a couple of well-aimed punches.

'I was having a cup of tea in the directors’ room before being called to the dressing room because police were contemplating some sort of action,' said Watkins.

'From then it became clear what a significant event it was. Legally, I will probably never have a case like that again.'

Kung-Fu fighting: Cantona attacks Matthew Simmons at Selhurst Park back in 1995

Kung-Fu fighting: Cantona attacks Matthew Simmons at Selhurst Park back in 1995

Almost immediately, United banned
Cantona for the remainder of the season – a total of 21 matches – which
the Football Association increased to eight months.

Watkins, and Sir Alex Ferguson, remain of the view that the additional punishment was unfair and borne out of the FA’s need to look as though they were actually doing something.

Yet the loss of Cantona’s liberty was almost worse.

'We made an immediate mistake on the day of the case because we decided to walk to the court with a police escort,' said Watkins.

'It was only 100 yards but there were so many press people about it was very difficult to move. I was nearly knocked down on more than one occasion.

'We thought it was going rather well until the magistrate sentenced Eric to two weeks in prison.

Circus: Cantona dominated the headlines throughout 1995

Circus: Cantona dominated the headlines throughout 1995

Circus: Cantona dominated the headlines throughout 1995

Circus: Cantona dominated the headlines throughout 1995

'We lodged an immediate appeal and bail application but Eric was pretty upset when he was whipped down to the cells.'

There then followed an almost comic three-and-a-half hours during which a bail application to the same bench was turned down, forcing Watkins and his legal team to dash up the road to the nearby crown court to make a further attempt to get Cantona released.

'It was a mad three hours,' said Watkins.

'I did manage to see Eric for a little while but there was not much time to do anything.

'The thing was, whilst you go prepared for anything we were surprised at the sentence because it went against all the established protocols.'

Ben Youngs: I will not change my ways despite Twickenham howler

Ben Youngs: I will not change my ways despite Twickenham howler

|

UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 22 November 2012

Ben Youngs is sticking to his guns
despite acknowledging that his impetuosity cost England an easy penalty
kick late on in the 20-14 defeat by Australia.

'If it's on I'll go. If I get it
wrong I'll hold my hand up,' he said after head coach Stuart Lancaster
announced his decision to switch his scrum-halves – Harlequins' No 9
Danny Care started the first two internationals.

Mistake: Ben Youngs fumbles the ball

Mistake: Ben Youngs fumbles the ball

Youngs added: 'I got it wrong against Australia, but there have been times when it has worked. I'm an instinctive player – it's the way I play and I won't change it. If I have it knocked out of me then I won't be the player I want to be.'

He looks to have regained the starting berth due to his form against South Africa last summer, before a shoulder injury ruled him out in the second Test.

Though Care helped to make a try against Australia for Manu Tuilagi off a 'tap and go' penalty, he looks to have been dropped for his poor positional kicking which gave Australia counter-attacking opportunities, including setting up the attack which led to wing Nick Cummins scoring.

Youngs was so disappointed by his rash decision last Saturday that he drove home immediately to Leicester rather than stay, as planned, at the team's training base in Bagshot over the weekend.

'If I hadn't then I would have been moping about,' he said.

'So you just have to get out of the environment. We are here (at the training base) for quite a time and it does get intense.'

He hopes to gain inspiration from starting a Test alongside his brother, Tom, for the first time.

'It will be a great moment. To be playing alongside your brother in an England shirt at Twickenham is going to be pretty amazing. I will try to feed off that emotion and energy to try to put in a performance.'

Wayne Rooney: I want to become greatest striker for Manchester United and England

I want to become greatest striker to play for Man United and England, says Rooney

|

UPDATED:

23:27 GMT, 15 November 2012

Wayne Rooney has set himself the challenge of surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring records for both Manchester United and England.

Rooney was absent from international duty this week due to an ankle injury he sustained during United's win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

While he missed the chance to add to his 32 goals for his country in England's 4-2 defeat in Sweden yesterday, Rooney needs 17 more to emulate Charlton's international tally and another 64 to equal the former midfield legend's record at Old Trafford.

Aim high: Rooney wants to surpass records set by Sir Bobby Charlton

Aim high: Rooney wants to surpass records set by Sir Bobby Charlton

At 27, the former Everton man clearly feels time is on his side to overhaul both and looks to the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs as role models.

'Sir Bobby Charlton holds both (records) so that's a great challenge,' Rooney said in an interview with Shortlist magazine. 'The guy is a legend and is such a presence around the club.

'If I could break his record as Manchester United's top goalscorer and maybe even England's…wow! That is such a great incentive.

'I want to play as long as I can and to have shared a dressing room with the likes of Giggsy and Paul Scholes is inspiration to do just that. At least another 10 years would be great.'

Rooney is already fourth in the overall scorers list at United but has had to take a backseat role this season with Robin van Persie taking centre stage.

Our finest moment: Charlton holds the record for most England goals

Our finest moment: Charlton holds the record for most England goals

Rooney has been deployed in a deeper position but is itching to play a key role up front again soon.

'I can see myself one day moving back into midfield – I can do it – but I'm not ready yet. I'm a centre-forward and I score goals,' he added.

'I feel I have plenty of goals left in me. I'll play there [midfield] if I have to and I have done so at United, but goals are still my main aim and the biggest part of my game.'

Daniel Sturridge finds life hard on the bench

Life's hard on the bench, admits Chelsea forward Sturridge as he prepares for England duty

|

UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 12 November 2012

Daniel Sturridge is rarely accused of lacking confidence but the last few months at Chelsea have started to sap even his sizeable reserves of self-belief.

Sturridge has started only one game this season – a Capital One Cup tie when Fernando Torres was suspended – and has played barely 71 minutes of Premier League football in three months, scoring one goal.

Yet he travels to Sweden as one of only two specialist centre forwards in the England squad, warning that players cannot be expected to produce form on demand.

In front of the cameras: Sturridge spoke to the press on Monday

In front of the cameras: Sturridge spoke to the press on Monday

‘If anyone says to you, “If you don’t play, you’re fine”, it’s a lie,’ said Sturridge. ‘I don’t believe it’s easy not to play and then switch it on like a light.

‘You can’t do that. You have to play regularly. You have to be able to replicate what you’ve been doing week in, week out.

‘Some players can come off the bench and play well. Some players cannot. Some players can have an impact and score. Some cannot. Everyone is different.

‘I prefer playing from the beginning. If I can’t, then I’ll work hard in training and not stress about whether I’m not playing or not.

‘I don’t need anyone to tell me that I’m great or that I am fantastic. I just need to play. I need the opportunity and that is when you get your own confidence.’

Second fiddle: Fernando Torres has been preferred to Sturridge all season

Second fiddle: Fernando Torres has been preferred to Sturridge all season

Sturridge is in the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge and is likely to move on but will take with him inspiration from Didier Drogba, who left for Shanghai Shenhua in the summer.

‘I do believe in myself,’ said Sturridge. ‘Didier Drogba always said to me, “Studge, it doesn’t really matter about anything as long as you believe in yourself”. And that’s my main strength.

‘Didier told me that when I joined the club and he continued to tell me that throughout his time there. He believed in himself and nobody can knock him mentally. I’ve learned a lot from Didier in that sense.’

With Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe injured, Hodgson takes two centre forwards to Sweden in Sturridge and Danny Welbeck who often do not start for their club sides.

Belief: Sturridge is still confident he has the ability to succeed

Belief: Sturridge is still confident he has the ability to succeed

But he selected them ahead of Andy Carroll, a regular for West Ham, and other traditional ‘big-man’ options like Peter Crouch, Grant Holt and Bobby Zamora.

It indicates a desire to press on with smaller, quicker strikers while exposing once again the worryingly thin layer of elite talent at the manager’s disposal.

Welbeck has started nine times for club and country this season. Also travelling to Stockholm are uncapped youngsters Raheem Sterling (17) and Wilfried Zaha (20).

‘The England manager has made it clear that players do not have to start for their clubs to play for England,’ said Sturridge. ‘That is a huge leap of faith for players like myself who are not playing regular first-team football.

Part to play: Sturridge is expected to feature prominently against Sweden on Wednesday night

Part to play: Sturridge is expected to feature prominently against Sweden on Wednesday night

‘If the manager had not said that, it would be difficult for the likes of myself and Welbeck and others who are in a similar situation.

‘I’ve always been thankful for every opportunity I’ve had. Stuart Pearce gave me one with the Under 21s and I shook his hand and said thank you. I saw Andre Villas-Boas in a restaurant and shook his hand and said, “Thank you for believing in me”.

‘You don’t have to be strong and powerful to be a centre forward but you need belief and a knack for scoring goals.’